Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday night with Liza was the only place on the planet to be...weather cooled down from Friday's intensity and slowly the Bowl packed out close to capacity for the two-show grand finale, and grand it was in every way one could imagine with Liza exceeding all expectations!
Entering to a wild ovation, Liza looked slim & gorgeous all in white and totally rejuvenated launching in to a soulful "Teach Me Tonight" with voice sounding rich and full. Luckily a faint flow of cooler air from the ocean side kept smoke away from the Bowl and Liza soared vocally sounding better than she has in years with no hoarseness or shortness of
breath. Comic moments were many & Liza had the enraptured audience in the palm of her hands the entire evening with a tremendous amount of wit and humor...microphone put between legs while retrieving pistol to shoot lover in "If You Hadn't" was incredibly funny and big screen caught every animated expression in a performance richly filled with them...Liza is at the peak of her wondrous performing powers with that awesome voice hitting those trademark powerful notes that blow audiences out of their seats even on a very warm but thankfully not hot evening! Every great song perfection with "I Would Never Leave You" , "Maybe This Time" & "He's Funny That Way" mesmerizing and sublime. "What Makes A Man A Man" is a brilliant acting tour-de-force & wowed the audience while "My Mammy" stunned them along with the tremendous "Palace Medley" which found Liza in robust vocal form. A quite moment with Billy Stritch doing the Garland classic "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" gave an intimate moment to the large open air venue that was rare so fine. Liza clearly is once again in her prime and the Hollywood Bowl experience makes it easy to understand that recent Tony Award win...finale "Everytime We Say Goodbye" with Billy Stritch was a fine moment and with prolonged cheers Liza came out and treated us to a sublime "I'll Be Seeing You" then the magical evening came to a close!!! Liza exceeded expectations and thrilled the audience in a way LA hasn't experienced in years and hopefully will return soon for an Encore performance!
Liza put on a great show last night, and was well received by an almost sellout crowd (only the nosebleed seats were empty).
The weather was very warm, which Liza commented about several times (and even once about the smokey air - there's a wild brush fire burning out of control about 10 miles away).
The first half of the show was exactly as on the 1st CD of Liza's at the Palace. The 2nd half started with my all-time favorite Liza song "But the World Goes "Round." And she nailed it! She also did "Liza with a Z," as well as "My Mammy," and "New York, New York." Her encore was with just Billy at the piano and she sang "Everytime We Say Goodbye," wearing a teeshirt and without shoes.
There were several standing O's throughout the evening, and Liza appeared to have a wonderful time and was quite pleased by the crowd's response.
I'm looking forward to seeing it all over again tonight!
By PAUL HODGINS
The Orange County Register
Comments 0 Recommend 5
What becomes a legend most?
An adoring audience.
If you've got them on your side, nothing else matters.
Liza Minnelli had us worshipping at her altar Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl. Her two-hour concert was an amazing display of showbiz savvy transforming weaknesses into strengths and flaws into poignant moments.
Minnelli is 63 now, and her wayward life is legend. Fellow diva Barbra Streisand has treated her voice like a pampered poodle and managed her career like a sergeant major. Minnelli marches to her own eccentric drumbeat, sometimes eerily reminiscent of her mother's sad tattoo. Over the years the gossip press has followed Liza's travails like hounds after a hare, feasting on her drug abuse problems, uneven performances, wavering voice and trail of broken romances.
Recently, though, Minnelli has blazed a comeback trail. She won a Tony earlier this year for "Liza's at the Palace," the crowning achievement of a 75-city tour. Her appearance at the Hollywood Bowl is a prelude to an engagement next month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
How did she do it? By embracing and even celebrating her shortcomings, not trying to gloss over them.
Minnelli's instrument is well past its prime. It was never a perfect voice, but at the height of her powers (most famously, her iconic performance as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse's 1972 film version of "Cabaret") there was a thrilling lustiness and bravura to her delivery – think of the way she slayed "Mein Herr."
More than three tumultuous decades older, Minnelli's voice sounds fragile and its shortcomings are more apparent. The chief culprit is breath support. She struggles to finish long phrases and seems winded after upbeat songs. That epic vibrato has widened to Grand Canyon proportions.
But it doesn't matter. Minnelli can still sell a song like nobody else alive. Performing Broadway tunes is as much about acting and persona power as vocal technique, and in those departments Minnelli is better than ever.
Backed by a 12-piece orchestra playing lush arrangements, Minnelli didn't give us a string of chestnuts. "Cabaret" was lightly represented by its title song and "Maybe This Time." Kander and Ebb's earlier hit, "Flora the Red Menace" – the musical that gave 19-year-old Minnelli her breakout role and first Tony – was ignored on Friday. (We were hoping, at least, for the beautiful "A Quiet Thing"; its lyrics would have been a great opener.)
Nevertheless, the material was well chosen. For longtime Minnelli fans the lyrics in songs such as "I Would Never Leave You," "Cabaret," "My Own Best Friend" and "Maybe This Time" were pregnant with allusions to her life.
Friday evening was hot and nearby fires made the air treacherous for anyone singing or even breathing. Minnelli carefully marshaled her energy, bringing out a chair midway through the first act. She joked that in the old days it remained on the sidelines until after intermission.
That was the first of many occasions when Minnelli made a crack about her age and checkered past. Only a celebrity with this public a life and this rabid a following could possibly get away with it.
"We're all in this together," she said at the top of the evening, referring to the heat and the challenges it presented. Enlisting the audience's sympathy is an old showbiz trick that Minnelli has learned as well as anyone, and it worked like Merlin magic. The crowd's affection bubbled over. "We love you, Liza," someone screamed more than once.
Another sign of Minnelli's confidence: she dared to evoke thoughts of another diva during her Palace Medley, a grab-bag of song snippets sculpted around the thrill of playing at New York's famous venue. She briefly touched on "My Man" from "Funny Girl" – a property wholly owned and operated by Barbracorp. The audience loved it.
Every diva knows how to finish an act, and Minnelli is an old pro.
The first half ended with a speedy version of "Cabaret." Minnelli delivered it with a touch of world-weariness, characterized by less-than-pinpoint accuracy in the phrasing and intonation. The song contained one of those art-imitating-life lines: "Well, that's what comes from too much pills and liquor." She milked the moment perfectly without saying a word; a knowing look was all it took.
Minnelli also offered a bit of touching revisionism at the song's end, which brought a supportive cheer from the huge house: "When I go, I'm NOT going like Elsie!"
The evening ended with another Kander and Ebb standard, "New York, New York." Minnelli gave it the old razzle dazzle. She even found an opportune moment or two for a display of jazz hands (Minnelli must be the only performer alive who can use that gesture without irony). Predictably, it brought a standing O.
Fragile as she seemed, Minnelli had the energy for a quiet encore with her beloved accompanist, Billy Stritch: Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye." It was a melancholy valentine to the audience. Perched like a bird on the edge of Stritch's piano stool, wearing a black T shirt, Minnelli looked eerily like her mother. (The illusion is reinforced by her persona: the tumbled-out words and vulnerability are spookily Judy-like.)
Judy Garland, of course, was dead by 47. Liza is still very much with us – and the way her career is humming along now, I'd say all the odds are in her favor.
Contact the writer: 714-796-7979 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, August 28, 2009
LIZA MINNELLI is now in her fifth decade as an internationally celebrated performer. Recently, after a triumphant 75-city international tour, she brought Liza’s at The Palace to Broadway, which garnered her a 2009 Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. At age 19, Liza won her first Tony Award for her Broadway debut in Flora, the Red Menace. She was the youngest artist to win Best Actress in a Musical – a record she holds to this day. Minnelli has won two additional Tony Awards: one for her 1974 engagement at the Winter Garden Theatre, and one for her 1978 performance in The Act. She received a Tony nomination for her role in The Rink and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2001. Additional Broadway credits include Chicago and Minnelli On Minnelli. In June 2008, she was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Liza won an Academy Award for her legendary performance in the 1972 film Cabaret. Minnelli’s other movies include The Sterile Cuckoo (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations), New York, New York (Golden Globe nomination), Arthur (Golden Globe nomination), Stepping Out, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, and Charlie Bubbles. Minnelli received an Emmy and a Peabody Award for her 1972 landmark TV special, Liza With a ‘Z’. A restored and re-mastered DVD was released in 2006 by Showtime, which won a Satellite Award. She subsequently starred in television specials co-starring legends like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Goldie Hawn. Liza recently achieved critical praise playing Lucille Austero on the Emmy-winning Arrested Development. As a recording artist, Liza has received a Grammy Living Legend Award and four Gold Record certifications. Highlights include the albums Liza With a ‘Z’, Live at the Winter Garden, At Carnegie Hall, and Results. Compilations include The Complete Capitol Collection and The Complete A&M Recordings. Liza, her mother, Judy Garland, and her father, Vincente Minnelli, are the only family in Hollywood history to have all received an Academy Award.
Copyright NBC Local Media
First Published: Aug 27, 2009 11:28 AM PDT
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hollywood-born Minnelli performs selections from her recent release, Liza's at the Palace, a 2-CD set of her signature hits and personal favorites, such as her crowd-pleasing "Cabaret," "Liza with a Z," and "New York, New York." Her Broadway show last year garnered high praise - Steve Holden of The New York Times stated, "Liza Minnelli is a pure entertainer and there is none purer!" and David Rooney of Variety said, "Minnelli's charisma is undiminished and her vocals still have power, warmth and a startling ability to make every song personal." The triple-threat's recent European tour also received high praise.
The concerts mark Minnelli's first appearance on the Bowl stage since her 2008 induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and show-stopping performance. She is joined by Ross Konikoff and Dave Trigg, trumpets; Dan Levine, trombone; Chuck Wilson, Frank Perowsky and Ed Xiques, reeds; Mike Berkowitz, conductor and drums; Chip Jackson, bass; Bill Washer, guitar; David Nyberg, percussion; Rick Cutler, keyboards; and Billy Stritch, piano.
Liza Minnelli is now in her fifth decade as an internationally celebrated performer. Recently, after a triumphant 75-city international tour, she brought Liza's at The Palace to Broadway, which garnered her a 2009 Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. At age 19, Minnelli won her first Tony Award for her Broadway debut in Flora, the Red Menace. She was the youngest artist to win Best Actress in a Musical - a record she holds to this day. Minnelli has won two additional Tony Awards: one for her 1974 engagement at the Winter Garden Theatre, and one for her 1978 performance in The Act. She received a Tony nomination for her role in The Rink and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2001. Additional Broadway credits include Chicago and Minnelli On Minnelli. Minnelli won an Academy Award for her legendary performance in the 1972 film Cabaret. Her other movies include The Sterile Cuckoo (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations), New York, New York (Golden Globe nomination), Arthur (Golden Globe nomination), Stepping Out, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, and Charlie Bubbles. Minnelli received the Emmy and Peabody Awards for her 1972 landmark TV special, "Liza With a ‘Z'." A restored and re-mastered DVD was released in 2006 by Showtime, which won a Satellite Award. She subsequently starred in television specials co-starring legends like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Mikhail Baryshnikov and Goldie Hawn. Minnelli recently achieved critical praise playing Lucille Austero, on the Emmy-winning "Arrested Development." As a recording artist, Minnelli has received a Grammy Living Legend Award and four Gold Record certifications. Highlights include the albums Liza With a ‘Z', Live at the Winter Garden, At Carnegie Hall and Results. Compilations include The Complete Capitol Collection and The Complete A&M Recordings. Liza Minnelli, her mother, Judy Garland, and her father, Vincente Minnelli, are the only family in Hollywood history to have all received an Academy Award.
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and is home to the best and brightest in all genres of music. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 42nd season. In January 2009, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the fifth year in a row at the 20th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.
Tickets ($10 - $116) are on sale now at HollywoodBowl.com, at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office (Tuesday-Saturday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.), or by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000, and at all Ticketmaster outlets. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850.2050 for further details or group sales. For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Liza Minnelli on 'Ferguson': Still got it
by Alynda Wheat
Categories: Late Night
Oh, he’s a gentleman, that Craig Ferguson. After repeatedly claiming to look like the legendary Liza Minnelli, the late night host had her on the show Friday. First order of business: acknowledging the obvious. “I am a hideous, misshapen individual, that in no way even implies the shivering, god-like beauty of Miss Minnelli,” he admitted. (Okay, points of fact, Craig doesn’t even approach hideous or misshapen, but if you’d been on my picnic blanket sitting next to Miss Liza at a concert in Central Park some years back, you’d definitely have shivered.)
Let’s do some acknowledging of our own: Miss Lady is divine! As she says, “I am 63 and cookin’!” No kidding. In her uniform black sparkly pantsuit she seemed radiant, healthy, and ready to get back at it, as she performs at the Hollywood Bowl in a few weeks. (Nah, I’m not going. Have you seen the traffic on Bowl nights? It’s enough to make you stabby.) But what’s really fantastic is that she’s such an old-school broad. Nothing could have delighted her more than a charmer like Craig claiming to look like her. Who knows? Maybe he’ll do a puppet of her.
Craig also welcomed “Lady Professor” Kara Cooney, an Egyptologist who’s got a show coming on Discovery Channel called Out of Egypt. Interviewed her once—nice, fun, all the stuff you want in a history host. But truly, Miss Liza was the star of the evening—this time, anyway. Craig managed also to sneak in tweaks on Barbara Walters and Barbra Streisand, so this could be the beginning of Divas on Parade. Puppets for everyone!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Wednesday, Aug. 20 2008
MM: Why are you so obsessed with Liza?
SG: Because her talent ignites something in me that I have never understood as it is so basic to my being. That said, Liza has given some of the greatest performances of all time. I always tell people who only know her from the tabloids, "There's a reason she's a legend. Go watch Liza with a Z or rent Cabaret. It's all right there."
MM: Do you think she's relevant to the young generation?
SG: She's relevant to anybody who is seeking greatness. At the end of the day she's standing alone up there--just her and a microphone in front of an orchestra. There are no bells and whistles other than her god-given talent. I love a Madonna concert just as much as the next guy, but there is something to be said for somebody who can get up and cause a frenzy just by opening up their mouth and singing.
MM: And singing and singing. What is the ultimate Liza moment that you've witnessed?
SG: Luckily I have experienced many great moments with Liza both onstage and off. I've escorted her through Times Square, hugged her when she lost her voice, and told her point blank that as a huge fan I will never abandon her. One of the standout moments, however, was at Fred Ebb's memorial service in December of 2004. For those who don't know, Ebb, along with John Kander, was Liza's songwriter and he was very close to Liza personally. She has said there would have been no her if not for him. And she's right. It was a typical Broadway midday memorial. Lots of great stars of the stage came out to sing Kander and Ebb tunes. As she was their greatest creation, she came out last and sang two songs they had written for her: "The World Goes Round" and "New York, New York." She wasn't even in the best voice that day, but it didn't matter. All of the Minnelli magic was in full bloom and I nearly lost my mind. Sometimes, however, my favorite part of the concert is just watching her walk on stage. A great star taking the stage to the sound of their fans' ovation is a sight to behold.
MM: As for the darker side: Your thoughts on the David Gest years? And her 1988 bomb Rent-a-Cop?
SG: David Gest? Who cares?! Her life has been long and full of triumphs. Did she make a mistake? Of course, but it was long ago. She's moved on and has given many amazing performances since then. As for Rent-a-Cop? Its unfortunate that Hollywood wasn't able to present her with better properties to choose along the way. But the few clunkers haven't sullied her legend.
MM: All right, I'll return it to Kim's. And finally: Your message to Liza?
SG: Oh, dear...where do I start? I love you? I've told her that many times. And Liza doesn't need anybody to tell her to keep on keeping on. She knows how to do that better than most people. While she may have fallen along the way, she has always picked herself up and gotten right back where she belongs--on stage. It is where she was born to be and I hope to always be in the front row shouting "You're the greatest!"
Saturday, August 8, 2009
1975 Liza Minnelli to the rescue! With only six days to learn the role of merry murderess Roxie Hart, the Academy Award-winning stage and film star agrees to fill in for an ailing Gwen Verdon in Chicago. Minnelli will stay with the show until mid-September. Always willing to do a friend a favor, Minnelli will make a highly-publicized return to the stage in 1997 as she fills in for a vacationing Julie Andrews in the musical Victor/Victoria.
Friday, August 7, 2009
In this Vegas engagement, she will perform her well-known hits "Cabaret," "Some People" and her signature song "Theme from New York, New York."
Minnelli recently appeared on Broadway in her show, Liza's at the Palace, for which she received a 2009 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, as well as a special award from the Drama Desk Award for career achievement. She won additional Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical for Flora the Red Menace and The Act, as well as a special Tony Award in 1974. She was also Tony-nominated for The Rink and has starred on Broadway in Victor/Victoria and Chicago. She won the Academy Award for Cabaret and the Emmy Award for Liza With a "Z".
For more information, call 800-929-1111 or visit http://www.mgmgrand.com/.